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What Women Want: The Global Marketplace Turns Female-Friendly

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  248 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Paco Underhill, the author of the hugely successful Why We Buy and Call of the Mall, reports on the growing importance of women in everybody's marketplace--what makes a package, product, space, or service "female friendly." Underhill offers a tour of the world's marketplace--with shrewd observations and practical applications to help everybody adapt to the new realities. A ...more
Audio CD, 6 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 2010)
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Awful! In fact, so awful that by page 8, I decided I must keep reading the entire thing to see if it could possibly get worse. Of course, it did. I'll limit my barf-tastic review to the top five worst things about this book, but suffice it to say, it could be much longer. Zero stars.

1) It's entirely based on his opinion, with a couple of "interviews" with rich women that he knows. There are no scientific studies, no sociocultural studies, nothing on which he bases his writing. Just, "IMO." No re
Chris Aylott
Jul 15, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let's talk about the little women, shall we? That's the vibe that comes off this book, as Paco Underhill tells men (the audience is clearly men, almost certainly executive men about his age) about what women REALLY want. Curvy things mostly. And hand-holding, and clean stuff.

He went to Vassar in the seventies, so you know he has bona fides as a sensitive guy. (He reminds you of this fact a couple of times in the book.) So hopefully you'll smile and nod as he shares a series of fatuous over-gener
Jill Furedy
What a disappointment this book was. I really enjoyed his other two books. I expected this one to be similar...observing what customers picked up, how they interacted with products, etc, just that this one would be female focused. I felt like the whole book was just Paco making generalizations about stuff he's seen over the years, with nothing specific to help readers out. Kinda made me think he doesn't want to give away too many more tips and just wants to convince people to hire his company. T ...more
Feb 08, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was sorely disappointed by Underhill's take on how retailers can appeal to female buyers. Underhill is widely regarded as a guru of retail marketing, yet his advice on appealing to female shoppers is hopelessly antiquated. Unbridled anger coursed through my veins at this statement by Underhill: "Just as a man collects his toys - the all-terrain vehicle, the Harley, or the vintage, seldom-used Porsche he keeps sheeted in one side of the garage - the kitchen has been transformed into the arena w ...more
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Social psychology and economics are my absolute favorite to read about. They are always easy to relate to and often pretty funny. Read this book! You will go into a store with a completely different viewpoint thanks to the impact women have made on the ever-changing economy. Who knew it was women who contributed to the volcano of pillows in hotel rooms? I think we can all appreciate that contribution.
M.C.A. Hogarth
Like this one, but it's not up to Underhill's usual standards of interestingness.
Aug 28, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women, get-again
from the library

Table of Contents

Introduction 1 (14)
1 Housequake
15 (10)
2 Don't Phunk with My Hearth
25 (10)
3 Let Us Spray
35 (8)
4 Nice Work If You Can Get It
43 (10)
5 We Can Work It Out
53 (8)
6 To Love, Honor, and Maintain
61 (10)
7 Should I Stay or Should I Go?
71 (18)
8 The Female, Unplugged
89 (14)
9 Women and Sin
103 (14)
10 The Empress's New Clothes
117 (12)
11 C'mon a My Mall
129 (12)
12 Higher Ground
141 (14)
13 Drugstores
155 (10)
14 See Me, Touch Me, F
Mar 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: business, audiobook
After reading this, I thought a more proper title would be "What Stereotypical Women Want". I was quite amazed that the author based his opinions on very little hard data. He did claim to use data on one page, but that didn't seem like enough to me, not enough to base a book's worth of recommendations on, not enough to validate recommendations. This book is written to sound like all recommendations are based on the author's direct observations of how women act in retail environments, but when he ...more
Joe Robles
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: executive-shelf
Paco Underhill is great at boiling down what you need to know in simple and easy to understand concepts. if you've read Why We Buy, then you know he's absolutely brilliant when it comes to retail. I've applied several of his concepts to our business, and while I can't say that it alone is why we continued to post sales increases, even during the recession, it definitely didn't hurt. So when I saw that he'd written a book on the female consumer, I knew I had to pick it up.

I've read two other book
Apr 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marketing
I read this book because I had enjoyed Underhill's previous two books. This book was not written for me. It was written by a man, for men who are probably executives in large retail and service companies. Most of the things in it seemed so self-evident that I was surprised anyone would bother to call them out. For example, he talks about the importance of personal security: how most women, after ringing up a purchase, will not move away from the counter until their wallet is securely stowed. And ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy read, entertaining account of the quirks and behaviors of people, women in particular in our society. I am feeling more and more like a woman - except may be for spending hours shopping for hair care products or make up. But I may just as much fantasize about my looks. But I do shop at farmers market (although strongly influenced by my husband).

A few bit I can really relate to:

"...the female love of gardening... there is a spiritual element to gardening...there is a need to dig into soil an
Bonnie G.
This book really, really peters out towards the end. He had me enraptured thinking about curves symbolizing women, giving a tour through the mall to show dressing rooms, cleanliness, etc. His other books are pretty spectacular and he made me think about the safety issues women are constantly struggling with (having names overheard in the hotel lobby, for instance). Soon, the food chapter just.....sounds like a cool coffee conversation with an observant friend, but loses all scientific merit. He ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you read the other reviews for this, you'll get some laughably misguided sense of who Paco Underhill is, and how this book is. He's not a 90 year old christian conservative who thinks women are idiots and only good for their sandwich making function / baby making. That's wholly detached from reality and ridiculous.

In this book, you'll find insights that'll help you reconsider your business practices to make your system more woman friendly, from the guy whose job it is to know these things. I
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
I hope he did some serious reseach, and just chose to present his findings with anecdotal examples, because if his clients are paying him to tell them what his friends Pam or Debbie like they could probably cut out the middle man. Also, if the sum total of his advice to them is "Women like places that are clean and safe," I have to wonder (a) what human being doesn't and (b) who needs to pay someone to tell them that?

His whole folksy "Some of my best friends are women" intro is really off putti
Aug 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agreed with about half of his assessments on why and what women shop for. However, I thought he would have a more scientific approach to his conclusions. For instance, his statement that women don't smoke pot as often as men do is because they're worried about getting the munchies and getting fat as a result. Really? It seems like a big leap to conclude that based on the feedback from a couple of his female friends.
I enjoyed the first half of this book but then I realized that he was able to
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Underhill's "Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping" was a more enjoyable read.

I still do come away with the wish that those trying to sell us things incl mall designers & managing companies, would think about their client more, and less about 'pretty' i.e. the aesthetics, unless the aesthetics serve a very specific purpose.

Such as when you want to give the impression of luxury or cleanliness.

Speaking of which, the author points out that the powers that be need to remember how very influential
Elizabeth Olson
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
Underhill, the genius guru who owns the turf at the intersection of psychology & retail marekting, hits another homer. What do women want? It turns out they pretty much want to shop in a clean, well-light, safe place that treats them with respect and lets them easily get what they came for. If you think that sounds a lot like what humans in general want in a shopping experience, you're not wrong. It's just that women are more particular about it, more able to articulate it, more ardent in ex ...more
Jul 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Short book on how companies are changing to embrace the new roles women are playing, or in some cases, roles women were playing all along but never given credit for. Nowadays women have their own money to spend, and oftentimes are the people making decisions for a lot of the family's money as well. Paco Underhill covers many topics: printers, convenience stores, facebook, hotels, organic food, hardware, even house layouts. It's really interesting, though it doesn't really seem to break new groun ...more
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Einige interessante Einsichten hat mir das Buch vermittelt, insgesamt ist es für mich jedoch zu sehr auf US-amerikanische Verhältnisse zugeschnitten, auch wenn der Autor immer wieder Beispiele aus aller Welt einstreut. Manches stimmt schlichtweg nicht: Es gibt - anders als bei Frauen - keine gemeinsamen "Hygiene-Rituale" bei Männern? Was ist beispielsweise mit dem türkischen Hammam? Vieles ist für mich - aus Frauensicht - nicht nachvollziehbar, aber das mag an der starken geographischen Ausricht ...more
Margaret Sankey
At first, I was put off by the idea that it takes a marketing "guru" and extensive marketing testing to discover that women want clean bathrooms, non-surly service and personal safety, but then I reflect on the evil joy I have taken at buying online and avoiding the many stores where any clerk has acted put upon to get things from a high shelf, nosy questions were asked, the ATM was in a dark creepy corner, or anyone stood around watching me load a heavy object into the car. Apparently the invis ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Women represent half of the buying public and an increasing share of the world’s earning power, and are often an underserved market. I approached this book expecting examples of successful marketing towards women, perhaps backed by academic and industry studies. A best-case scenario would have been a framework or at least the views of successful marketers.

Instead, what I found was a shoddily written piece, overly dependent on crude gender stereotypes (of women as well as men) and offering little
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great look at the female market on very general terms...which applies to nearly everything. Now when I go shopping, patronize a restaurant, or compare products or services, I'm always thinking about how they could be better if the business would just read Paco's book. I also appreciated the professional tone, and liked Paco's writing style. If you have clients, customers, or even a female business partner, I highly recommend this quick-moving read.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just read (skimmed) What Women Want, and I am Not Impressed. The subtitle is "The Science of Female Shopping" but I found precisely zero scientific studies, or any solid data to back up his claims.

If you say SCIENCE on the cover of your book, you'd damn well better give me some facts that support your tired stereotypes (women want nice refrigerators, men want a shiny new Macbook).

I don't often say this but ... what a complete waste of $10.
Nura Yusof
I like Paco Underhill. But this book is geared towards male readers which is somehow disturbing coz' even in this day and age, we still don't get each other. I am chuffed, however, at his assertion that most of the 'innovations' in the various retail spaces are influenced in one way or another, by women. Talk about hearing us roar. Having said that though, this book lacked 'Aha' moments which his two previous outings had.

Still a good read though.
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another great book by Paco Underhill. In the book, Underhill explains how changing gender roles in society have influenced the way that we live, the way that we shop and the products that we buy. It is a great book for retailers, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople who work in all industries. As an added bonus, in this book, Underhill provides some early observations about how social media is influencing our day-to-day lives.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I had great hopes for this book, expecting insights into the psychological reasons for why most women are the hunters & gatherers. Instead, I had to suffer an insufferable sexist's view of women in the marketplace. A waste of my time. I couldn't stomach any more of his diatribe and ditched this book midway, glad that it was a returnable library copy.
Christine Quinn
As women gain more buying power his company consults with other companies on how to be more women friendly.

I think the author was right on saying women want cleanliness, control, personal safety and politeness from a complany.

I enjoyed readying the author's book, "Why we Buy: The Science of Shopping Call of the Mall" too.
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think this book might more appropriately be called "What Rich Women Want." I appreciate that marketing and products are getting to be more female-friendly, but somehow this book presents a very enclosed view of the average woman and what they want.
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This should be required reading for men. What do women want? To be clean, safe, and healthy. And we want these things more than you do.

I really regret that I accidentally returned this book to the library before I finished.
Tony Moze
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting. As men we need to learn more about females and their tastes, as businesses it is imperative that we know about female consumer behavior. The proof is in the details and there is a major difference between what women versus men want.
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Underhill has spent more than 25 years conducting research on the different aspects of shopping behavior, earning his status as a leading expert and pioneer in the field. Paco helps companies understand what motivates the behaviors of today’s consumer. His research shows how today’s retail world is ruled by factors such as gender, “trial and touch” and human anatomy. He is an insightful and captiv ...more
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